Cafe choice books

Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Living the Sacraments: Grace into Action, Bert Ghezzi ’69Ph.D. (Servant Books). Using scripture, writings of the saints and personal stories, the author offers ideas on how to “approach the sacraments with a renewed expectation that their graces will strengthen your life.” He presents the seven sacraments as sacred passages, “openings that lead us into God’s presence and unite our life to his.” Chapters end with questions for reflection and group discussion.

Elynia, David Michael Belczyk ’03 (Dark Coast Press). The struggle for redemption, love and peace is played out in this novel-length poetic mosaic. The connected stories of characters over several generations, from the cobbler who sees his son wrongly arrested by a man whose shoes he shines to a waitress who secretly loves a man who atones for his past troubles by refurbishing a house, are brought together across time and place, uniting them in their common humanity.

Why Stay Catholic? Unexpected Answers to a Life-Changing Question, Michael Leach (Loyola Press). Ex-Catholics make up “the fastest growing religion in America,” says the author. While acknowledging the anger and frustration of those who have left the Church, he presents reasons to celebrate the Catholic faith, with its richness of ideas, people and places. Among those profiled here are ND alums Therese Borchard ’94M.A., Father John Smyth ’57 and Marybeth Christie Redmond ’85.

Of Uncertain Significance, Michael Collins ’87, ’91M.A. (Corby Books). The internationally acclaimed author chose the name of the book after the medical term a surgeon had used when referring to a tumor discovered in his daughter’s brain. Collins explores questions of the human condition in this novel written during his daughter’s recovery. It offers, he says, “an uncertain journey toward meaning in a seemingly godless world.”

Great American Catholic Eulogies, compiled and introduced by Carol DeChant (ACTA Publications). The 50 eulogies presented here cover every era of American Catholic history, from colonial times to today. Generally based on written tributes, the collection includes two eulogies previously printed in this magazine: Father Robert F. Griffin, CSC, ’49, ’58M.A. by Luis R. Gamez ’79 and Mother Katherine Drexel by Anthony Walton ’82. Tributes also include Liz Christman by Melinda Henneberger ’80 and Danny Thomas by Phil Donahue ’57.

The Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, Yvonne Bohn, M.D., Allison Hill ’91, M.D., Alana Park, M.D., with Melissa Jo Peltier (Da Capo Lifelong Books). Between them the three obstetricians have delivered more than 10,000 babies. They have first-hand experience of pregnancy and birth. “We’d like this book to be a safe place for any mother-to-be to step out of the fear-mongering world and get solid information,” they write. Taking readers from before conception to after delivery, the docs offer medical advice, practical tips and personal stories.

The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan, Wilson D. Miscamble, CSC, ’77M.A., ’80Ph.D., ’87M.Div. (Cambridge University Press). In a book that “accepts the complexity, the uncertainty, the sheer messiness of policy making,” the Notre Dame professor of history here tackles the debate about “the necessity of using these terrible weapons to force Japan’s defeat.” He then goes beyond historical analysis to discuss the morality of the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Girl’s World: Twenty-one Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls, Jennifer Paganelli ’81 (Chronicle Books). The craft projects in this colorful book range from aprons, dresses and stuffed animals to bed canopies, pillows and headbands. From the simple to the complex, the projects include patterns, step-by-step instructions, sizing charts and color photos. The author is the creator of the Sis Boom fabric line.

Clashmore Mike Comes Home, Susan Mullen Guibert ’87, ’93M.A., and Brendan O’Shaughnessy ’93, illustrated by Andrea Pynaert (Corby Books). Before the leprechaun, the Notre Dame mascot was an Irish terrier, originally given as a gift to Knute Rockne. This adventure story follows Mikey, a modern-day Irish terrier who comes to campus for a tailgate party with his human family. When he gets separated from them, Mikey explores Notre Dame and discovers the true story of Clashmore Mike. Designed for ages 4 to 10.

One Hundred American Paintings, Paul Manoguerra ’92 (Georgia Museum of Art). A catalogue of the Georgia Museum of Art’s permanent collection, this survey of American art offers both full-color plates of each painting as well as essays about the artists and their work. Eras covered include Hudson River school landscapes, American impressionism and Southern folk art. Manoguerra is chief curator and curator of American art at the museum.

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O Rare Ralph McInerny: Stories and Reflections on a Legendary Notre Dame Professor, edited by Christopher Kaczor ’94MMS, ’96Ph.D. (St. Augustine’s Press). McInerny taught at Notre Dame for more than 50 years, and the anecdotes and reflections here give snapshots of the “scholar, teacher, writer, family man, person of faith.” Contributors include Alasdair MacIntyre, Cardinal Francis George, Father Marvin O’Connell and Gerard V. Bradley. Also included here is a full list of the books written by McInerny, a list of his doctoral students and their dissertations completed under his direction, and five contributions by McInerny himself.

The Stroke of a Pen: Essays on Poetry and Other Provocations, Samuel Hazo ’49 (University of Notre Dame Press). This collection of 10 essays covers such topics as the relationship between poetry and public speech; the pursuit of the literary life; religion and literature; and the life of a retiree. The poet and McAnulty Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Duquesne University says “I have written every essay in this book like a letter to a close friend.”

Sunbelt Rising: The Politics of Space, Place, and Religion, edited by Michelle Nickerson and Darren Dochuk ’05Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania Press). Essays in this collection probe the rise of the Sunbelt as a political and economic force in America. Contributors explore such topics as civil rights, sprawling prison complexes, raised highways and demographic changes. The book is part of the “Politics and Culture in Modern America” series.

The Miracle at Bolsena, Tom Scorza ’69 (iUniverse). An art history graduate student finds a manuscript that records the memories of a monk who, in 1263, became part of a unofficial investigation into a reported miracle in the ancient town of Bolsena. This novel continues with her translation of Brother Matteo’s book, as well as photos of present-day Orvieto and the art that commemorates the miracle.

Shadows and Illuminations: Literature as a Spiritual Journey, John Neary ’74 (Sussex Academic Press). The author explores “literary texts as verbal portrayals of and even sacramental experiences of spiritual journeys, and those journeys will necessarily take us to places of darkness and light both — to shadows and illuminations.” He uses insights from Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, psychologist James Hillman, Christian theologian Paul Tillich and the Jungian Robert Bly in his discussions of the works of such authors as Dante, Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Toni Morrison and Jonathan Safran Foer.

314 Franklin: A Memoir in Verse, Hugh Hennedy ’51 (Hobblebush Books). The poet’s recent chap book uses a narrative poem to explore his youth and the people and experiences that fashioned him into a life of poetry. Hennedy also is the author of Variations on a Natural Theme: A Loon Year.

Science-Mart: Privatizing American Science, Philip Mirowski (Harvard University Press). The Carl E. Koch Professor of Economics at Notre Dame here analyzes and critiques the state of modern science in America. He asks: “Did we really get value for money when we encouraged science to become more like a marketplace?” and evaluates the state of science from 1980 to the present.

The Last Male Bastion: Gender and the CEO Quite in America’s Public Companies, Douglas M. Branson ’65, (Routledge). Women have made strides as leaders in the not-for-profit sphere, in politics and at colleges and universities. At Fortune 500 companies, however, the number of female CEOs continues to remain low. The author asks why more women haven’t reached the CEO suite and discusses how women might better position themselves to ascend to that top-level leadership role.

Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI), edited by Douglas A. Vakoch ’91M.A. (SUNY Press). This book highlights the most recent developments in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). The essayists here also discuss whether humankind should be transmitting messages instead of only listening, and whether any meaningful exchange is possible with an independently evolved civilization. The editor is the director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute and a faculty member at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father’s Search for the Wild, Tom Montgomery-Fate (Beacon Press). In this memoir, the husband, father, professor and active member of his community looks at his life in both suburban Chicago and a cabin in Michigan as he contemplates Henry David Thoreau’s message and meaning in a modern world. Two of the essays in this acclaimed book — “Fathers Watching Sons,” and “Lake Glass” — first appeared in Notre Dame Magazine.